New York City has had a long relationship with good beer. From the earliest days of European settlement on the island of Manhattan to today’s craft scene, there’s been a tradition of brewing. New York State was home to one of the US’s largest brewing industries in the late 18th and 19th centuries, and in the mid-1800s was the country’s largest producer of hops.
Brooklyn alone was once home to 48 breweries (side note: it’s also one of our favourite neighbourhoods for grabbing local craft beers). With the influence of German immigrants, the city was manufacturing thousands of barrels per year and was filled with beer halls.
After a national ban on the sale, production, and importation of alcohol during Prohibition in the 1920s, and the hit of World War I, all the breweries disappeared from the city. Thank goodness, however, within recent years there’s been a boom in craft beer in NYC. Craft beer bars have been popping up all over the city, which is now home to 20 breweries.
With so many options, there’s always somewhere to grab a brew. But to help you narrow down the list, we’ve curated the best craft beer bars in NYC.
At this craft beer bar you can stay inside for the rustic decor or head outside for a little open-air oasis right in the heart of Brooklyn. Spuyten Dyuvil has one of the best craft beer selections in the city — they only keep six on tap so it’s pretty selective, only serving the best of the best. (Pssst, we take you to this joint and to the original Barcade location (below) on our Williamsburg Craft Beer Crawl.)
Blind Tiger Ale House
Since the 90s, Blind Tiger Ale House has been known for its extensive selection of beer in the West Village, and for making craft beer a priority. With 28 rotating craft draughts, three cask ale choices, and some pretty good bar food, it’s a favourite for any beer fan.
At Barcade (now with several locations in the city), you’ll find retro arcade games and American craft beer. They’re constantly turning over kegs, sometimes even printing new menus within the same day, so you know the beer is fresh.
In the booming hip neighborhood of Long Island City in Queens, you’ll find Alewife, a spot for both locals and serious beer drinkers. They have ample draught options, many local, as well as nano kegs on tap. For pairing with your beer, you’ll find an incredible food menu featuring oysters, fresh-baked pretzels, baby back ribs, and nightly dessert specials — this is NOT your typical pub food.
Over on Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn, you’ll find Torst, a minimalistic yet rustic, Nordic-influenced bar — and the perfect spot to try a new beer. If the 21 different brew options aren’t enough, they have about 200 bottles to choose from. You can inquire about their rare bottled beer cellar (where you’ll actually find a Belgian ale, “The End of History,” boxed inside a taxidermic squirrel).
Thirsty for NYC? Let a local show you around with one of our New York City tours!